Wash Post on WB/IMF troublemaking

Max Sawicky sawicky at epinet.org
Sat Jan 29 17:40:53 PST 2000

mbs: If capital is governed, rather than governing, capitalism is abolished. New RO: No, it isn't. It's governed/regulated/state-affected capitalism. And who is this entity outside of capital capable of governing capital?

The working class, natch.

>>> And why would/should capital still exist if it was governed so as to
prevent it from pursuing it interests?

Being "governed" is not the same as being exterminated, we hope.

>>>>>> That is, why would/should capital own
and control the means of production if it could be governed so that those means of production wouuld be used in the interests of labor? Do you think you, or something, or somebody can "govern" away capitalism without abolishing capital as a social relation (or more simply, without abolishing the ownership by one group of people of the means of production to the exclusion of all others)?


New RO: So you fix the problem of the monopoly over the means of production being in a few hands through state taxes and regulation? You're kidding aren't you? Tweaking me, so to speak? C'mon, Max you're going to have to come up with something at least tangentially plausible to get me going.

That's where you begin. Where it takes you is beyond my horizon of clairvoyance.

. . . Needless to say (I hope), capital's sociopolitical power and control are even further beyond your fantasy of taxes and regulation than is its economic power.

Mere assertion.

OK, so you don't want to be a marxist; you don't want to crusade against the "socialization of capital" whatever you mean by that. But, really, you have to come up with a better nonmarxist critique than this, one that at least has some hope of even addressing the implications of capital's monopoly of the MOP. If you do think seriously about it, I suggest you will be drawn inexorably to the same questions Marx confronted. Not that you have to agree with his take on those questions. To be sure, Max, these questions could use a fresh look.

I wasn't trying to a critique, nonmarxist or otherwise.

I'm just trying to make this world a better place, for you and me. Homes for the homeless, food for the foodless, modems for the disconnected, etc.

. . . I understand you don't think you are advocating a truncated message, but look at what you said next.

mbs: By contrast, attacking a place where the big shots and swells do deals at our expense, eat on the taxpayer's nickel, break the law with impunity . . . etc. etc.

You're worried about what we're saying. I'm concerned about who is listening.

New RO: Harassing big shots can be fun, but the purpose and payoff is limited to say the least. You can't really ask these guys to stop making "deals at our expense", nor can you stop them by breaking a few windows. That is what they do; it's their job--expanding profits and limiting wages. To accomplish that, you have to abolish the function of "capitalist".

You can't hurt these guys directly like that and the symbolism you claim is extremely minimal. Instead you have to connect your actions to the source of their wealth--their exploitation of labor--and make that the focus of what you do, what your message is. Rather than trashing the place where they flaunt their profligacy. RO

I reiterate that if we are talking about pure symbolism, without benefit of literal 'subtext,' attacking the Old Ebbitt Grill is more meaningful than a Starbucks or McD's.

Exploitation of labor is an abstraction, if you mean that wage labor per se is exploited. I don't contemplate the elimination of wage labor anyway. So it is not just political tactics at issue, but basic principles.

We'll have to agree to disagree.


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